Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for May 9th, 2007

Happy Europe Day!

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 9th May, 2007

european-flag.pngToday was Europe Day, though people in Britain could be forgiven for not noticing. Things are not quite as bad as when Mrs Thatcher was in power, when she reportedly vetoed the flying of the 12-starred blue European flag from public buildings. But no British government has yet had the courage to champion publicly what the EU has done for us — not even in this 50th anniversary year of the Treaty of Rome. The European Commission Office in Storey’s Gate, Westminster, let its hair down, however, by staging a wine-and-jazz evening for predominantly young guests, with live music from the Youth Jazz orchestra from the European School at Cudham, Oxon, and both Bulgarian and Romanian artistes (reminding us that in this anniversary year, those two countries joined the European family). As the press spokeswoman from the Bulgarian Embassy pointed out to me, a recent opinion poll in Bulgaria put approval of EU membership at 90%. I dread to think what the figure would be here in the UK, even though most British people actually like ‘the Continent’, travel more than ever, etc. There is still a huge battle to be waged for British hearts and minds on this issue, in which Liberal Democrats have a crucial role to play — as I can’t quite see Gordon Brown being much more effective on this than Tony Blair has been.

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